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Learn The 5 Steps Military Veterans Are Using To Improve Their Fitness & Mental Health

Written by: Dave Morrow, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


After years of struggling with my own mental health issues and coaching hundreds of veterans, I wanted you to learn the 5 steps military veterans are using to improve their fitness and mental health. First off, obesity in the veteran population is higher than the national average. Obesity is also linked to higher levels of mental health issues such as PTSD. After years of coaching the veteran population, I’ve realized that there are 5 ways veterans can lose weight and improve their mental health.

Male veteran sitting and praying. He is wearing military uniform.

This is important. The threshold has been crossed. Veterans are more likely to die by their own hands than by the enemy.

Read on to find out how military veterans that I’m working with are losing weight and the 5 things you can start doing right now to improve your fitness and mental health.

Accidental Coach

I founded my company by accident. I'm a 15 veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces and was medically released due to my injuries sustained in Afghanistan. I've since made it my mission to completely overhaul the fitness and health paradigm for the veteran and first-responder communities. I started by teaching my fellow veterans how to overcome common injuries, as I had, and not live in constant pain. The demand ballooned and before I knew it, I was coaching veterans from all around the world.

I’ve now made it my mission to help 100k veterans lose 2 million pounds with my BE.A.S.T. Body Blueprint.

The 5 R’s

The 5 R’s is my way of keeping in line with my Army training ‒ keep things simple with acronyms. These five steps are meant to be followed in order. The goal is to completely transform your health in short order, by using the concept of minimum effective dose. Make sure to set your goal before you get started.

1. Step 1 ‒ Remove

Getting rid of foods that are detrimental to your health is crucial. Sugar, PUFAs and alcohol must go. Sugar is a known endocrine disruptor.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), specifically from industrial seed and vegetable oils, are a significant cause of systemic oxidative stress and inflammation. Over 50% of all major diseases are caused by chronic inflammation.

Alcohol is a neurotoxin and inhibits the natural absorption of vitamins.

2. Step 2 ‒ Replace

Replacing junk with good quality protein in adequate quantities (120g/day minimum for men, 60g/day for women) is a must. Protein has a thermogenic effect that increases metabolism. Red meat, especially, is a superfood filled with loads of vitamins and minerals. Additionally, increasing the amount of fat consumed in each meal will make you feel satiated and the added, healthy cholesterol in your diet will aid the synthesis of sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen.

3. Step 3 ‒ Realign

Pain-free movement is crucial to an enjoyable life. I know. I used to be in constant pain and it sucked the life out of me. 50 million Americans live with some sort of chronic pain issue. Many can be mitigated with some self-myofascial release techniques that help “unstick” the fascia that is omnipresent in our bodies as connective tissue.

Tight hips are a common precursor to low back pain which usually result from too much sitting. Try this awesome hip mobility exercise. WARNING this will likely make you cry like a wounded animal.

4. Step 4 ‒ Rebuild

Strength training is often seen as something only for bodybuilders and athletes. This is very far from the truth. Declines in strength are correlated with greater mortality risk as we age. You don’t need to know how to throw a barbell in the air either. Doing just one, farmer-inspired, strength-focused circuit a week is sufficient to maintain and improve your strength levels. Try this workout at home.

  • 2 minutes of Farmers Walks with 30-50% of body weight in each hand. Rest as needed.

5. Step 5 ‒ Repair

Our metabolisms are broken. 88% of Americans have at least one of these conditions for metabolic disease.

i. Obesity

ii. High blood pressure

iii. High Triglycerides

iv. Insulin resistance or diabetes

Counteracting this isn’t easy. One evidence-based approach is to go to sleep. One-third of all Americans are sleep deprived. A lack of sleep contributes to poor insulin sensitivity, increases obesity rates, decreases testosterone levels and jacks up cortisol levels (ie: increases chronic stress).

No Bueno.

To fix this, try improving your sleep density, a term I learned from Dr. Kirk Parsley before you start trying to go to bed early. Most of us are addicted to our phones and the blue light emitted from them causes your brain to think it’s still daytime; this prevents you from entering your natural hormonal rhythm at sleep time.

Change this habit tonight by putting away your phone and laptop at least 1.5 hrs before bedtime. You’ll get a deeper sleep that your body will love you for later.

A New Blueprint For Fitness & Mental Health

These 5 steps are a snapshot of my BE.A.S.T. Body Blueprint that is getting veterans fitter, leaner and more focused in their daily lives. I believe that over the last 20 years of fighting the War on Terror, the veteran generation produced is our next Greatest Generation. However, we’re dealing with a health crisis that is holding many of us back from our full potential. This must be addressed.

Share this blueprint widely, especially with anyone in your network that is a veteran.

If you're curious about learning more about veteran health and fitness and how to improve it, follow me on Facebook and join my Veterans Getting Fitter, Leaner & Harder To Kill Group.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Dave Morrow, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Dave Morrow is a fitness coach driven to improve the lives of military veterans across the planet. A 15 year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, Dave injured himself during the war in Afghanistan and came back home struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. This experience left him in severe physical and emotional pain and when it became too much to bear, he made the decision to completely change his outlook on life and aggressively rebuild who he was. Now he shares the hard fought lessons he learned about managing chronic pain and establishing a bullet-proof mind so that all veterans can thrive and become pillars of their communities. His mission: For the veteran community to lose 2 million pounds



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